Supreme Court to hear landmark ‘Criminalization of HIV’ Appeals on February 8 2012

On February 8, 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada will hear two appeals regarding the criminal law obligation of people living with HIV to disclose their HIV status to sexual partners.

In the last ten years there has been a dramatic escalation in the frequency and severity of charges with respect to HIV non-disclosure in Canada.  Over 130 people living with HIV have been charged in less than 15 years.  The appeal cases being heard on February 8 are R v Mabior and R v DC.

The Court’s decisions in these two appeal cases will have profound implications not only for people living with HIV, but also for Canadian public health, police practice and the criminal justice system.

You can view the proceedings on February 8 via live webcast at the Supreme Court of Canada’s website:  www.scc-csc.gc.ca/case-dossier/cms-sgd/webcasts-webdiffusions-eng.aspx

The criminalization issue is at times confusing in part due to the fact that the criminal law is applied inconsistently both across the country and within jurisdictions.  To help clarify the use of the criminal law to date, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network has prepared a backgrounder to provide up-to-date information on the criminalization issue.

The Legal Network website also includes a briefing note on the two appeal cases that will be heard by the Supreme Court on February 8, 2012.  The briefing note includes:  updated facts on both cases; an overview of the implications the Court’s decision will have on people living with HIV; and, information about the position the Legal Network and its partners are taking as interveners before the Supreme Court on both cases.

You can find more information, including the backgrounder and briefing note on the Stop the Criminalization of HIV Non-Disclosure page of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network website:  www.aidslaw.ca/stopcriminalization

 

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